Born: 2 October, 1995 – Tokoroa
Test record: 4 Tests (2016-18) – 3 tries (12 points)
Tours: 2016 Four Nations, 2017 World Cup
Waikato product Te Maire Martin debuted for New Zealand at the end of his 2016 NRL rookie year, while he returned to Kiwis reckoning after a four-year absence following a remarkable, courageous comeback to the elite level in the wake of a career-threatening condition.
Born in Tokoroa and playing junior football Turangawaewae, Martin followed the well-worn path of promising Kiwis such as Benji Marshall to Keebra Park State High School on the Gold Coast and then onto Wests Tigers, where he earned consecutive NYC Team of the Year nods in 2014-15 and represented Junior Kiwis in both years.
The hot playmaking prospect was snapped up by Penrith and made his NRL debut as an 18-year-old in early-2016, memorably slotting the match-winning field goal against Brisbane. A shoulder injury snuffed out his campaign after just six games but he was nevertheless chosen in New Zealand’s Four Nations squad, making his Test bow in an 18-all draw with Scotland.
Martin switched to North Queensland midway through 2017 after an injury rubbed out superstar half Johnathan Thurston. He played an integral role alongside Michael Morgan in the Cowboys’ amazing run from eighth place to the grand final and scored his side’s only try in the 34-6 loss to Melbourne Storm in the decider.
The elusive, skilful ball-player scored a hat-trick from five-eighth in New Zealand’s World Cup demolition of Scotland and wore the No.6 jersey again as the Kiwis were bundled out of the tournament by Fiji in the quarter-finals. He also featured in the halves in the mid-2018 Test loss to England in Denver.
Despite the presence of Thurston and Morgan, Martin missed just one NRL game in 2018, regularly slotting in at fullback or as a bench utility. But after small bleed on his brain was detected during the 2019 season, he was sidelined indefinitely and announced his retirement in January 2020.
Martin returned to the field in 2021, however, turning out for Waikato Mana in the NZRL National Competition and subsequently picking up a deal with Brisbane Broncos for 2022. In an inspirational return, the 26-year-old was superb for the improving Broncos in 13 top-grade games at fullback, impressing sufficiently to receive a wider squad call-up for the Kiwis’ mid-season Test against Tonga (he was not selected in the gameday 17) and secured a three-year contract with the Warriors from 2023. He was an unlucky omission from New Zealand’s World Cup squadat the end of 2022.